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Telephone: +91 (0)265 6533 360

Behavioural Skills

When you have a child who acts out and is disrespectful or disruptive, it’s easy to compare him to the so-called “good kids” who never seem to get into trouble or give their parents grief. Many people feel hopeless about the possibility of ever teaching their child to “magically” become the kind of well-behaved member of the family they envisioned before they had him.

Good Behavior is not “Magic”—It’s a Skill The 3 Skills Every Child Needs for Good Behavior:

"It’s actually the learning process associated with
consequences that changes the behavior."


truth is that good behavior isn’t magic—you can’t just wave a wand and turn your child into who you want him to be. Rather, good behavior is a skill that can be learned, just like carpentry, teaching or nursing. I believe three of the most important skills for children to learn as a foundation for good behavior are: how to read social situations, how to manage emotions, and how to solve problems appropriately. If your child can learn to master these three tasks with your help, he will be well on his way to functioning successfully as an adult.

Skill #1: Reading Social Situations

The ability to read social situations is important because it helps your child avoid trouble and teaches him how to get along with others. If he can walk into a classroom, lunchroom, playground or a dance, read what’s going on there, and then decide how he’s going to interact in that environment in an appropriate way, he’s already halfway there. So if your child sees a bunch of kids who usually tease and bully others, the skill of reading social situations will help him stay away from that group, rather than gravitate toward it.


Parents can help their kids develop these skills by getting them to read the looks on people’s faces at the mall or a restaurant, for example. If your child can learn to see who looks angry, frustrated or bored, two things will happen: the first is that he will be able to identify how people might be feeling. Secondly, he’ll learn that he should try to identify other people’s emotions. Both are integral in learning how to read social situations.



Skill #2: Managing Emotions:

It’s critical for your child to learn how to manage his emotions appropriately as he matures. Managing your emotions means that it’s not OK to punch a hole in the wall because you’re angry; it’s not OK to curse at your dad because he took your iPod away. Children need to learn that just because they feel bad or angry, it does not give them the right to hurt others.



Skill #3: Teach Problem Solving Skills:

I believe that the kids who are labeled “good” are children who know how to solve their problems and manage their behavior and social life, and the kids who are labeled “bad” are kids who don’t know how to solve those problems. A child is often labeled “the bad kid” when he’s developed ineffective actions to solve the problems that other kids solve appropriately. So this child may turn to responses that are disrespectful, destructive, abusive, and physically violent. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as good kids or bad kids, there are simply kids who have learned effective ways of solving life’s problems, and kids who have not.


As they develop, children have to continually adjust their problem-solving skills and learn new ones. For instance, for a three year old, being told “no” is the biggest problem in her life. She stomps her feet, she throws a tantrum. Eventually, she has to learn to deal with that problem and manage the feelings associated with it. And so those tasks continue for five-year-olds who have to deal with the first day of school and for nine-year-olds who have to change in gym. They continue for 12- and 13-year-olds when they’re at middle school, which is a much more chaotic environment than they have ever faced before.



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